UVA Discovery by John Lukens, PhD’s Lab Makes Elite 8 in Hunt for Biggest Biomedical Advance

March 21, 2023 by

Stat MadnessA UVA Health discovery that could help us better treat Alzheimer’s disease has fought its way to the Elite 8 in STAT Madness, an online competition to crown 2022’s biggest biomedical advancement.

The discovery from the lab of UVA’s John Lukens, PhD, won a tight contest with another strong UVA finding from the lab of Kenneth Walsh, PhD. Both research teams enjoyed significant public support in the online balloting, with the vote split 52%-48% when the round ended at midnight.

Elite 8 voting is now under way. You can vote once per day at 2023/. Every vote counts from Hoo faithful!

STAT Madness is sponsored each year by the prominent STAT health news site to increase awareness of biomedical research and its importance in the battle against disease and for improving human health and longevity.

The advancing discovery from Lukens and his team revealed a molecule in the brain responsible for orchestrating the immune system’s responses to Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. This could let doctors supercharge the body’s ability to fight those and other devasting neurological diseases.

Walsh and his team, meanwhile, had shown that loss of the male sex chromosome as many men age causes the heart muscle to scar and can lead to deadly heart failure. The finding may help explain why men often die years younger than women and could help prevent that from happening.

UVA also had a third contender in this year’s STAT Madness, an important breast cancer discovery from UVA Cancer Center’s Melanie R. Rutkowski, PhD, and her team. They found that an unhealthy gut triggers changes in normal breast tissue that helps breast cancer spread to other parts of the body. The finding could help scientists develop ways to keep breast cancer from metastasizing.

Rutkowski’s finding was bumped out of STAT Madness in an extremely close, head-to-head match with Lukens’ discovery. That means that no one has defeated a UVA discovery in this year’s STAT Madness except another finding from UVA.

Clearly Lukens’ discovery has momentum. But can it go all the way? The public will decide, and every vote counts. Make sure to bookmark that bracket at and return to vote every day!

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Filed Under: Research